Thursday, March 18, 2010

To Project or Not to Project

"Saving Grace"
From my Bluegrass Series
(The image was projected)

For many years now, there have been artists who have used techniques and tools to transfer their image/s onto canvas, and still I struggle with the concept of projection.
When I was taking college painting classes, we had opportunities to use the teacher's projector to transfer our images onto our canvas. My first reaction was, no way! I struggled with my proportions and my likeness of my model, but no way was I going to "cheat". I thought that with practice, my likeness and proportions would get better. One day, I broke and used the projector. What a relief to not spend so much time hand drawing my image on canvas...I could work my composition out by moving the projector until I was happy with the placement. What freedom...all my time and focus can be towards applying paint and not the drawing, right?
My so called bubble was popped by my sense of guilt. When my work was complete, yes, I thought my painting turned out well. My likeness was dead on and the proportions were correct, but I had this little voice taunting me and reminding me that I "cheated". I felt that not all the work was mine.
After two attempts with a projector I have come up with an alternative to my drawing weaknesses... the grid. Since I struggle with projectors, I use a different tool for transfer that allows me to feel like I was true to my work. The grid helps me to keep my proportions where there should be and my likeness (although not as good as the projection) is believable.
I do not have less respect for any artist who uses a is just a personal preference for me to not utilize one, and who knows what my preference will be as I continue to grow and develop.
What do you do to transfer your drawings to your canvas? Does anyone else struggle with the idea of projectors?


  1. I enjoyed reading about the projector. Now I know what my daughter is talking about. She took a photo of her brother and enlarged the drawing for her art exploratory class. It was only a 9 week introduction class. She is looking forward to the more intensive classes at Salem High School next year. She says she didn't feel like it was cheating since only the basic outline was done this way and all her details were added after. Also she says it was only used to enlarge something she'd already drawn. This was enlarged from 4x6 to 8x10. It's proably in the photos of her bedroom since it is hanging on the wall in there. As an art appreciator, I don't think it's cheating since a lot or art comes from the colors the artist selects in some cases. So I think it depends on what the emphasis will be.

  2. I know that alot of artist use projectors...I would love to be one of those who can achieve true likeness with quick sketching.


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